My colleague Matt Stephen has raised awareness of the Microsoft Assessment and Planning tool (MAP) for customer who want to 'find' instances of SQL Server installed in their environment. Now I know of this tool as a Vista planning tool as one of Map's core benefits is to help customers asses their environment and it's readiness for new technology deployments such as Windows Vista or Office 2007. Now, given that I cover System Center I must stress that System Center Configuration Manager 2007, or even a SMS 2003 with SP3 installed will do a much more 'complete' job of inventory and assessment BUT if you don't yet have these tools deployed then MAP is a great (and FREE) start to assessing your estate.

The MAP tool actually returns a list of all software installed on a machine, it uses WMI and therefore it's agentless.

MAP

Figure 1. Three Key Functions of Microsoft Assessment and Planning

Secure and Agentless Inventory

The Microsoft Assessment and Planning tool provides secure, agent-less and network-wide inventory that scales from small business to large enterprises. It collects and organizes system resources and device information from a single networked computer. Assessment tools often require users to first deploy software agents on all computers to be inventoried, but this tool does not. MAP uses technologies already available in your IT environment to perform inventory and assessments. These technologies include Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), the Remote Registry Service, SNMP, Active Directory Domain Services, and the Computer Browser service. Assessments can be completed on the following Windows platforms:

  • Windows Vista
  • Windows XP® Professional
  • Windows Server 2003™ or Windows Server 2003 R2
  • Windows 2000 Professional or Windows 2000 Server
  • Windows Server 2008

Comprehensive Data Analysis

The Microsoft Assessment and Planning Solution Accelerator performs a detailed analysis of hardware and device compatibility for migration to Windows Server 2008, Microsoft Office 2007, Microsoft Application Virtualization, and Windows Vista. The hardware assessment looks at the installed hardware and determines if migration is recommended. If it is not recommended then the reports tell you why it is not.

Device assessment looks at the devices installed on a computer and reports availability of drivers for those devices. Device assessment is provided for both Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista migration scenarios.

For customers interested in server consolidation and virtualization through technologies such as Hyper-V or Virtual Server 2005 R2, this tool helps to gather performance metrics and generate server consolidation recommendations that identify the candidates for server virtualization and how the physical servers might be placed in a virtualized environment.

In-Depth Readiness Reporting

The Microsoft Assessment and Planning Solution Accelerator generates reports containing both summary and detailed assessment results for each migration scenario. The results are provided in both Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word documents. Reports are generated for the following scenarios:

  • Identification of currently installed Windows Client operating systems, their hardware, and recommendations for migration to Windows Vista.
  • Identification of currently installed Windows Server operating systems, their hardware, and recommendations for migration to Windows Server 2008 (including a report detailing currently installed server roles).
  • Identification of currently installed Microsoft Office software and recommendations for migration to Microsoft Office 2007.
  • Detailed assessment and reporting of server utilization gathered using the Performance Metrics Wizard.
  • Recommendations for server consolidation and virtual machine placement using Hyper-V or Virtual Server 2005 R2.
  • Assessment of client machines, servers, and the technology environment for the implementation of Microsoft Application Virtualization (formerly SoftGrid).  
  • Reporting of SNMP-enabled devices found in the environment during inventory.